Grants, Scholarships & Loans
Grants based on financial need are determined by students filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form (FAFSA
). This form is also available at any college financial aid office, from most high school guidance counselors, and many public libraries. Use the FAFSA4caster
to obtain an estimate of eligibility for federal student aid.
Federal Grant Programs:
Federal PELL Grant
- The Federal PELL Grant is the largest federal grant program for students from low-middle income families, and does not need to be repaid. The amount that a student can receive depends upon their college’s cost of attendance, family size and the family’s financial situation. In 2015-16, the maximum Pell grant awarded will be $5,775. The size of the program and amount of aid available are determined by congressional appropriation levels. More information
Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
- The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is awarded and administered by each college. Funding is provided directly to the schools in the form of a block grant, however, the award amount is set by the institution’s financial aid office. Aid and application deadlines vary. More information
Commonwealth of Virginia Grant Programs:
Tuition Assistance Grant Program
- Established in 1972, the Tuition Assistance Grant Program (VTAG) is designed to assist Virginia residents who attend accredited private, non-profit colleges and universities in Virginia. In 2015-16 the TAG award will be $3,100 (undergraduates) and $1,550 (graduate students in health professions programs). Eligibility and Application Information
These grants vary - the Financial Aid office at each institution can explain the application procedures and the type of aid available. Many times, this information can also be found on the website of each college.
Many colleges and universities give scholarships to their students. When applying for admission, always ask about scholarships and grants available from the school.
Many private organizations also offer grants and scholarships. The following resources can help match students to areas of interest, geographical location and special skills:
Note: Avoid scholarship offers that charge fees, ask for credit card or checking account information, or guarantee scholarships.
Low-interest educational loans are available from government and private lenders. If you’re curious of a potential loan payment, check out Finaid's repayment calculator. By manipulating the figures you can determine the repayment amount. (Loan Repayment Calculator
Major programs include:
Federal Perkins Loan - This loan is administered by the institution, based on a demonstrated financial need of the student. The current interest rate is 5%. No interest is charged until the student:
Is scheduled to begin repayment, nine consecutive months after graduation
Ceases to be at least a half-time student (as defined by the institution)
Cease making satisfactory academic progress.
You apply to the financial aid office at the school you attend. Check individual college websites for application information and deadlines.
The Federal Stafford Loan Program
- This loan offers funds to students enrolled at least half-time who are pursuing their first bachelor’s degree or a teacher’s certificate. The program is available to students of any income level; loans may be “subsidized” or “unsubsidized.” The interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans is fixed at 3.4%. The rate for unsubsidized Stafford loans is fixed at 6.8%. More information
Subsidized Stafford Loan: This loan is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA. Repayment of this loan is deferred as long as the borrower maintains a half-time basis enrollment. Repayment of the loan (principal and interest) begin six months after the student graduates or ceases at least half-time enrollment,
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
: This loan is offered to students who do not demonstrate sufficient financial need, according to the FAFSA
analysis, but wish to borrow funds for their educational expenses. The student may make interest payments on this loan while enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Repayment on the principal is deferred until six months after the student graduates or ceases at least half-time enrollment.
Direct PLUS Loan (Parent Loans) -
The PLUS Loan is a non-need based federal loan for parents of dependent students. The interest rate is fixed at 7.9%. The maximum FPLUS amount that may be borrowed equals the difference between the cost of attendance and any other financial aid the student is receiving. More information